IRS Admits to Court it Needs To Search 6,924 Previously Unreported Documents in Response to a 2015 Judicial Watch FOIA Lawsuit over IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups
MARCH 08, 2017
Agency Agrees to Begin Producing Documents by March 10, but Has Yet to Provide Timetable for Completion of Review
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported to a U.S. District Court that it located “an additional 6,924 documents of potentially responsive records” relating to a 2015 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit about the Obama IRS targeting scandal. The FOIA lawsuit at issue sought records about the IRS selection of individuals and organizations for audits based upon applications requesting non-profit tax status filed by Tea Party and other 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations (Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:15-cv-00220)).
These newly identified records are presumably not records that were contained in the “Congressional Database,” which the IRS created in 2013 to house records responsive to congressional inquiries into the IRS scandal.
The IRS is unwilling to commit to a timeframe in which the new documents will be made public:
At this time, the Service is unable to provide an estimate regarding when it will complete its review of the potentially responsive documents. The Service will begin producing any non-exempt, responsive documents by March 10, 2017, and, if necessary, continue to produce non-responsive records on a bi-weekly basis.
“The corruption at the IRS is astounding. Our attorneys knew that there were more records to be searched but the Obama IRS ignored this issue for years,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “President Trump needs to clean house at the IRS as quickly as possible.”
In July 2015, Judicial Watch released Obama IRS documents confirming that the agency used donor lists of tax-exempt organizations to target those donors for audits. The documents also show IRS officials specifically highlighted how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may come under “high scrutiny” from the IRS.
In September 2014, another Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit forced the release of documents detailing that the IRS sought, obtained and maintained the names of donors to Tea Party and other conservative groups. IRS officials acknowledged in these documents that “such information was not needed.” The documents also show that the donor names were being used for a “secret research project.”